Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NY Times 10 Best Books of the Year

The New York Times has published its list of ten best books of the year (5 fiction and 5 non-fiction).  I've read three of the five fiction pieces and all of them are worthwhile.  The list of the 100 notable books of the year can be found here.

THE ART OF FIELDING By Chad Harbach (get the book here)
11/22/63 By Stephen King (get the book here)
SWAMPLANDIA! By Karen Russell (get the book here)
TEN THOUSAND SAINTS By Eleanor Henderson (get the book here)
THE TIGER’S WIFE By Téa Obreht (get the book here)

Non-fiction (NYT summaries below)
By Christopher Hitchens
Our intellectual omnivore’s latest collection could be his last (he’s dying of esophageal cancer). The book is almost 800 pages, contains more than 100 essays and addresses a ridiculously wide range of topics, including Afghanistan, Harry Potter, Thomas Jefferson, waterboarding, Henry VIII, Saul Bellow and the Ten Commandments, which Hitchens helpfully revises.

By Ian Brown
A feature writer at The Globe and Mail in Toronto, Brown combines a reporter’s curiosity with a novelist’s instinctive feel for the unknowable in this exquisite book, an account — at once tender, pained and unexpectedly funny — of his son, Walker, who was born with a rare genetic mutation that has deprived him of even the most rudimentary capacities.

A Life of Reinvention.
By Manning Marable
From petty criminal to drug user to prisoner to minister to separatist to humanist to martyr. Marable, who worked for more than a decade on the book and died earlier this year, offers a more complete and unvarnished portrait of Malcolm X than the one found in his autobiography. The story remains inspiring.

By Daniel Kahneman
We overestimate the importance of whatever it is we’re thinking about. We misremember the past and misjudge what will make us happy. In this comprehensive presentation of a life’s work, the world’s most influential psychologist demonstrates that irrationality is in our bones, and we are not necessarily the worse for it.

Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War.
By Amanda Foreman
Which side would Great Britain support during the Civil War? Foreman gives us an enormous cast of characters and a wealth of vivid description in her lavish examination of a second battle between North and South, the trans-Atlantic one waged for British hearts and minds.

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